After reviewing my work, to spot where the lack of ‘life’ is in my current studies, I’ve noticed that how I pull apart a form is very silhouette based. There isn’t much form to it, if any at all. But the silhouette is there, clear bar a few lines that attempt to create form.
Taking the example of my course leader’s request to see a study, I’ll try show what I meant with the silhouette statement and how I approach a form study now.
The way I set up a study then was to pick a reference and draw the gesture, a rhythm, a clear form for the torso and then the outline of the form.
On the first picture, the first mistake I’ve made was the reference.
Showing dynamics in a form is very hard if the reference isn’t a dynamic one to begin with. I chose a static form which gave me a lot of issues when I tried to pick it apart. Just because I could put the lines there, doesn’t mean it was a good reference to take. To study a static form is done by someone, successfully so, who is better versed in life drawings than I am.
The second pose is far more dynamic. There’s pull of gravity, her body is balancing, there’s a lean, her whole body bar her supporting leg is dynamic, it’s moving, it’s curved, it’s not static. The outcome of this one, however, is a pure silhouette. If I were to drag the red lines over her actual form, it’d be the outline of her body, which is good if you want to see if a pose ‘reads’ well, but it’s not a study.
A woman’s point of gravity is lower than that of a man, meaning, I could have pushed her frame further than what I have done in the above image.
Above is a study of Leyendecker. This is more of a study than what I have in my own image.
In the image you can see the positioning of hands, where he draws it several times to see which one is best to use for the image, the same goes for the head wrap, he’s dissection pieces that he thinks could use adjustments in order to get to the final piece.
Whilst he was an illustrator, it is helpful to look at to really go through his thought process. In life drawing the thought process is the most important part. “What is the model doing, how would one part connect to the other, what is the rhythm, the balance, how does the gravity work on the form.” By creating a study which dissects the form, repeating it over and over again with adjustments on mistakes you have found, you can come to a final result which is closest to the model.
Matt Rhodes goes deeper, giving the sketch, then the skeleton, the muscles, fleshed out part and then the line art of a pose. It’s another way to pick apart a form, one which I’ve seen used before when I was visiting China. This forces you to understand the core of the function of a pose. It’s another approach of studying a pose.
Setting up my own path to study has been with a lot of trial and error, but I think, seeing the amount of time I have before my deadline is here, I’m getting closer to a way of efficient studying, one which I will continue even after my course has ended.